A mere days before the country’s general election (taking place on February 25th) saw rioters rise to attack ATMs and block roads. What was simmering has now come to a boil…
With the push towards the eNaira, Nigeria’s new Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), came a shortage in physical cash. So far, the central bank has been swapping out old bills for new ones, encouraging patrons to use the eNaira in the interim.
The scarcity of new notes, coupled with businesses refusing to accept old notes, has caused huge queues to form where the was once ease of transactions.
Ibadan, Benin City and Delta State were hit hardest. Two banks were set on fire.
Bright Edafe, a spokesperson for the stat police tweeted “We have arrested nine suspects so far. Some persons will still call this protest,”
“The riots were not organic,” Claims PDP Guber Candidate
Ladi Adebutu, an Ogun State Governorship candidate, running with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), claims to have identified the central force behind the rioters.
“The riots were not organic,” Adebutu stated.
It was initially reported that “hoodlums” were spotted attacking the local office of the central bank and that they, “then started attacking and vandalizing banks. They also blocked roads and forced businesses to close,” Edo State governor’s spokesperson, Crusoe Osagie said.
But just as Osagie did, Adebutu later went onto blame the unrest on politically motivated actions by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party – claiming they’d taken advantage of the discontentment to sow chaos in the PDP governed state.
Adebutu asserts that the riots were masterminded by politicians with old looted funds stashed in their private residences. Their notes had expired, and they were left with no way to clean their money.
“Don’t join any protest. Those behind the protests are those that have billions of naira stored at home. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said more than one trillion naira of the old notes are still in circulation. Who are those in possession of those one trillion naira? Is it in the hands of farmers or market women?
Who are the custodians of the one trillion that has not returned to the banking system? They are the people who have stolen money from the local government system, from the State and from the Federal Government.
Those are the people behind these riots. These riots are not organic. When they are stuck and unable to take their stolen cash to the banks, they instigate riots here and there. Those who have hoarded money but could not take it to the bank are behind the riot.
[Parents] caution your children, they should not be part of protest they know nothing about,” Adebutu said as he urged Ogun people to vote PDP on Saturday.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) defended their new policy as a means to mop up excess counterfeit Naira, as well as discourage cash ransoms – in an effort to cripple rampant kidnapping circles prevalent in Nigeria.
However, the did also go on to mention that the policy was a means to promote cashless transactions, and with the eNaira remaining unpopular a year and four months after launch, it’s easy to see why Nigerians are beginning to feel strong armed into the use of a currency they either know too little about or simply don’t trust.
Why don’t they trust their CBDC? Read: CBDCs Aren’t Going Anywhere. Here’s What You Need to Know…